Did Trey Gowdy Join President Trump’s Legal Team?

The former congressman from South Carolina has been tapped to join a team of lawyers representing Donald Trump.

  • Published 10 October 2019

Claim

Former Republican congressman Trey Gowdy has joined President Trump's legal team.

Rating

What's True

Former Republican congressman Trey Gowdy has been hired as outside counsel to help represent President Donald Trump, who is facing an impeachment inquiry.

What's False

Trump stated that Gowdy cannot begin representing him until January 2020 due to "lobbying rules."

Origin

South Carolina’s Trey Gowdy rose to national prominence chairing a Congressional committee that led an infamously long and fruitless investigation into allegations of wrongdoing by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the 2012 attack on U.S. government facilities in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead.

Since leaving the U.S. Congress, Gowdy — once a vocal proponent of Congressional oversight of the executive branch — has reportedly switched sides and will be defending President Donald Trump, who is being investigated by Congress for allegations of wrongdoing.

Gowdy will be joining a team of outside lawyers representing President Trump as he faces an impeachment inquiry, according to a statement sent to news outlets by Trump’s personal lawyer Jay Sekulow.

The statement, published by The New York Times on Oct. 9, 2019, reads: “I have known Trey for years and worked with him when he served in Congress. His legal skills and his advocacy will serve the president well. Trey’s command of the law is well known and his service on Capitol Hill will be a great asset as a member of our team.”

We sent a request for comment about Gowdy’s hiring to Sekulow’s advocacy law firm, American Center for Law and Justice but had received no response at the time of publication.

The news of Gowdy’s hiring came shortly after Fox News reported that Gowdy had been terminated from his position as a contributor with the network. Gowdy held his position at Fox News up until the news broke that he had joined Trump’s outside legal team.

Just one day after the news broke, President Trump told reporters that because of “lobbying rules,” Gowdy would be unable to start representing him until sometime in January 2020:

Over the course of two years, Gowdy led the House Select Committee on Benghazi, described by the Times as “one of the longest, costliest and most bitterly partisan congressional investigations in history.” At its conclusion in 2016, the committee produced an 800-page report that found “no new evidence of culpability or wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton in the 2012 attacks in Libya that left four Americans dead.”

The Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound by an Islamist militant group in Benghazi, Libya, resulted in the deaths of four Americans and became a source of obsession for right-wing pundits, politicians, and conspiracy theorists alike, who sought evidence that Clinton was responsible for the deaths.

Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor, was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2010 but did not seek reelection in 2018. The Republican House majority flipped in the 2018 midterm election, and in October 2019 the Democratic majority began spearheading an impeachment inquiry into whistleblower accusations that President Trump attempted to coerce Ukraine into digging up damaging information on a political rival by threatening to withhold crucial U.S. military aid to that country.

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